Just over two months into the season and the New York Yankees have a target on their back for a multitude of reasons — both fair and unfair — but it’s gotten to the point where even Rays nobody Taylor Walls thinks he can chime in.
Well, the stars aligned once again for the 67th trash-talk opportunity at the Yankees’ expense in 2022. In the offseason, New York non-tendered outfielder Clint Frazier, who became a free agent and signed with the Chicago Cubs.
This weekend, the Cubs will travel to the Bronx to face the Yankees for a three-game set. You know how many times these teams have faced one another over the last 20 seasons? 16. All-time? 24. The last time they crossed paths? 2017.
So of course it’d happen again in 2022 shortly after a jaded Frazier left the Yankees after what many would describe as a tumultuous, unsuccessful, and controversial tenure. And of course, he’d use the day before the start of the series to call out his former team.
But you want to know what’s funny? Before we get into Frazier’s comments, we have some unfortunate breaking news for the slugger.
The Cubs DFA’ed him moments before the start of the series and not longer after he made headlines for calling out the Yankees.
You can’t make this up.
"‘‘I like it here,” Frazier said, referring to Chicago. “Certainly don’t miss some of the things over there. And I’m really enjoying the way that this clubhouse has maneuvered. It seems like there’s a lot of guys in here that are just accepting of everyone. And it’s been really good for me.“You had to be a cookie-cutter version to be on that team. If not, then you were like a really bad distraction, it seemed like. So I don’t miss being told how I had to look for the last five years.”"
Clint Frazier called out the Yankees … and now he’ll probably get booed.
First off, Yankees fans mostly adored Frazier. They loved his personality and constantly clung to his potential (the famous lightning-fast bat speed!). Every time he was sent down to the minor leagues, fans would complain endlessly about the team stifling his development.
Secondly, Frazier taking a shot at the clubhouse is fairly wild, because fans have gotten a glimpse of the positive team chemistry this season now that reporters are permitted to interact with the players more closely after the COVID restrictions were relaxed. Additionally, Frazier was a member of three of the most successful Yankees teams in the last 13 years — all squads that boasted evident jovial camaraderie. The 2017 team went to the ALCS and the 2018 and 2019 teams won more than 100 games. Good times!
And lastly, Frazier never did himself any favors. Sure, some stuff was unfair, like the rumor about him asking the Yankees to retire Mickey Mantle’s No. 7 for him as well as broadcaster Michael Kay calling him out for “not getting healthy,” with both of those instances kicking off his first two seasons in pinstripes.
Then again, it was Frazier’s choice to dodge reporters after a terrible defensive performance against the Red Sox in 2019 and then claim he’s been mistreated by the New York media (which, yes partially true, but continuing to play that game only makes it worse). It was Frazier who continued to be shaky on defense for years and fail to hold onto a starting outfield job. It was Frazier who hid a concussion issue from the Yankees in 2021. It was Frazier who tweeted cryptic lyrics that seemingly took a shot at the organization last year.
Oh yeah, and it was Frazier who blasted the Yankees once again on his way out! You’ve made your point already? Why again? Haven’t you learned with the media? You said it yourself!
Are we here to disagree that the Yankees’ organization is rigid in their ways? No! Fans don’t like it. They’d much rather have no facial hair (or hair) policy. Yankees fans love it when players wear their emotions on their sleeve. Frazier’s comments, though, seem to take aim at his former Yankees teammates not “being accepting” of him, which is the comparison he made to the Cubs clubhouse.
Terribly sorry you had to shave your beard, Clint, but so did everybody else (and hopefully that will change). And it’s not like the beard or long hair helped anyway. Frazier is hitting .216 with a .653 OPS with one RBI in part-time action across 19 games on a Cubs team that has plenty of opportunities as it pertains to position battles. Frazier, in theory, should be getting a lot more run, but his peak seemingly came in a 108-game stretch between 2019 and 2020.
Whether it’s in New York or elsewhere, Frazier’s play doesn’t seem to be up to par with MLB standards, and it may have nothing to do with his freedom of facial hair choice. And given he ended up getting the proper amount of chances to succeed with the Yankees, the constant mouth-running really feels more hollow than anything.